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MR challenged to explain Habantota port expenses

16 January 2017 09:02 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake last week challenged the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to explain where the remaining funds from the US$ 1.4 billion loans documented to have been drawn for the development of the Hambantota Port are, if only US$ 450 million was spent to develop it.
“As a former President and Finance Minister, he (Rajapaksa) can’t speak irresponsibly. He has said that only US$ 450 million has been spent on Hambantota. So to whose pocket has the rest of the money gone to?” Karunanayake questioned. He presented evidence of correspondence between Former Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundera and the Chinese Ambassador, where Dr. Jayasundera had requested China to renegotiate the 30-year loans taken to construct the Hambantota Port since Sri Lanka won’t be able to repay it.
Even the Sri Lanka Ports Authority documentation published during the Presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa had placed the cost of developing the first and second phases of the Hambantota Port at US$ 1.4 billion.

“Some of these loans were taken at 8 percent interest. So, where is this money?” Karunanayake inquired.
Recently, China Merchants Port Holdings had proposed to purchase 80 percent of the Hambantota Port shares for US$ 1.12 billion, which would place the current value of the port at US$ 1.4 billion.
Rajapaksa had also said that there was a better proposal from China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) during his presidency for Hambantota port development.  However, Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama had claimed that CHEC’s proposal had offered less in exchange for the shares.

 

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